backReturn to Unit One: MWF

Unit One, Day 4 - Monday

Class Goal: How to read for an accurate summary and how to write an academic summary.

Connection to Course Goals: To understand summary in an academic context, its purpose and the audience's expectations.


  1. Pass out copies of the compiled homework and group work examples. Explain that you will refer to these as we do readings to show how we differ or concur with the authors' views. They'll be able to use these examples as well to support their own discussions in the essays they will write.
  2. Begin with discussion of summary and why they should learn it.

( When you get no replies, point out that very rarely will someone tell them "Do a summary" but they have had occasion to summarize information before.)

(For example: On ER last night, Carter and Lucy went searching for a woman who came into the ER and didn't know she had tuberculosis, which is highly contagious. They found her, Carter almost got beaten up by her neighbor, and hurt himself trying to break into a building. He and Lucy seem to be getting closer to being an item. (Other subplots?))

BUT in academic summary (even of a narrative like Soto's), you want to cover the MAIN IDEAS, not the events. This will seem odd at first, because we're used to summarizing events, not ideas. For example, if you asked someone what happened on ER, you would not expect to hear that "it continued to explore the ethics of romantic and sexual involvement between coworkers, particularly between a superior [Dr. Carter, Lucy's mentor] and a subordinate. It also delved more into the class-based inequities in American health care, made more dramatic by having the son of wealthy parents, John Carter, chase through a "ghetto" to save a woman from spreading a disease we thought had disappeared with the nineteenth-century." (You may want to have your own version of the smart-ass cultural analysis of your own TV show available on OH to illustrate your point).

But we'll do just this sort of analysis in Unit II!

 Here we are relaying IDEAS, which they will be asked to do, and have done in the past. Some examples:

A history exam where you have to discuss the causes of the Civil War

Writing an abstract to appear before your report in a medical or scientific journal

Presenting a project report to your boss or contractor in engineering

(10 min).

  1. Generate list of summary points from The PHG or have them ready to go over on an OH.:
  2. *cite author and title of text

    *indicate the main ideas of the text

    *use direct quotes of key words, phrases, or sentences

    *include author tags

    *avoid summarizing specific examples or data

    *report the main ideas as objectively as possible

    (5 min.)

  3. Summary of main points from the Soto essay (20 min.)

Note: Soto might be a little confusing to them in terms of finding a "main point." Here are some ideas for you to keep in mind. The essay says a lot about the psychology of identification with tv and other media images, and the ways in which tv images are viewed as normative and ideal. Most people balk at the idea that tv images have any effect on their lives, and the discussion questions will try to get them past that. Have them keep in mind, though, if you find yourself bogged down in a "it's-just-tv!" discussion, that these images work on us unconsciously and cumulatively. In other words, very rarely does anyone watch a show like Ally McBeal and decide "I want to be an attorney and wear really short skirts like Ally!" But studies have shown that women unconsciously take in images of the ideal body type from TV, and Calista Flockhart has been accused of being a terrible role model for young girls. Also, young kids might get an idealized version of what a workplace is like from shows like this (it's all one big happy family!). Remind them how many versions of Jennifer Aniston's haircut they saw on the streets when Friends first got popular. In this light, Soto talks about what it is like to NOT see yourself or your family or friends represented on TV, and the message this sends.

Important things to get from the Soto essay:

Popular culture defines wealth (or at least middle class life) and whiteness as normative and a source of happiness (Para.1, Father Knows Best Reruns versus Little John's homelife in paras 11 &12)

Class position determines identity and future: see passage where Gary is in class with "`the stupids'' and the fact that he can't make money working for other poor people (para. 6)

Making his dime (in the last paragraph) will not bring him the tv life he aspires to

See notes on p.21 of the grey-edged pages in teacher's copy of RA for more suggestions.

Discussion questions:

Connecting these two ideas/answers: tv images are unreal for everyone (even if they are not from a family's like Soto's they have probably encountered an unrealistic goal on TV, like being unemplyed and having a funky, well-decorate loft in Manhattan like Monica and Rachel on Friends).

Now, ask what must go in a summary of Soto and put on board or OH. (See above points).

  1. WTL: Given the results of this class discussion, rewrite your summary on the reverse side of your homework. 10 min.)
  2. Collect WTL and homework, though you may want to give them the opportunity to redo it (but this means they will have two summaries due Wed.)

Assignment: Read in RA Terkel and summarize the main ideas. (5 min.)

If you have extra time: Begin to respond to Soto. Using the list of main ideas: